Tuesday, 27 July
I had not intended to discuss this at all here, but I have been contemplating this decision all night and I have decided that if this blog is to serve as an accurate and comprehensive account of my daily routine then I must be completely truthful about my relationship with Luke. I mentioned in a previous post that I am falling in love with him but, if I am entirely honest, the emotions that I am experiencing are nothing like ‘love’ in my normal understanding of the word. Our connection runs far deeper than mutual affection; he is like family now, if not closer. In fact I would describe it as an almost symbiotic connection. I realise that this is all happening far too fast and it is ridiculous to feel such great affection for someone that I have only known for such a short period of time, but when we are together it seems so perfect and ’right’ that it really feels as though we have known each other for many years.
We have shared several of these ‘moments of indulgence’ - as I so carefully and ambiguously described in a recent post - since our first one back in June and their frequency is increasingly by the day, almost each and every time that Leonard leaves the house now. I have avoided mentioning them until now because I was concerned that the reader might react adversely and consider me to be insane. But what do I care? I will explain everything and you can choose to either believe me or ridicule me. Take it or leave it. It makes no difference to me whatsoever.
During our last encounter I took account of every sensation in my body so that I could describe it to you. The process in its entirety and the after-effects are a bizarre curiosity but it is the prelude to the event that fascinates me each time. I can see the first subtle changes present themselves in Luke more easily than I can see them in myself; his voice has a lower tone, his eyes have a heavy and distant glaze and he fixes on me with a determined stare. This might sound like textbook Mills & Boon to my reader, but it is far from it and Luke could not be any further removed from the romantic and desirable figure of fantasy that I had anticipated. In fact our first encounters made me feel like a newborn puppy thrown into a dog fight and they were very upsetting to say the least, so we have since agreed that a system of ‘mutual exchange’ is a far more favourable arrangement. If we enter into the same state of mind at exactly the same time then our emotions are effectively anaesthetized and the brutality of our actions does not leave a lasting mark on my memory.
The first ‘warning signs’ are very subtle in my case; I become extremely confident and I flirt outrageously, my focus is sharper and I can see a thick black border around objects and a hazy white border around people, my eyes either become sore and tired as though I am heavily medicated or I stare wildly at people and I am not ashamed to look away when our eyes meet. Luke becomes obsessed with books and magazines when he is in this state because the printed words pop out of the page and figures seem to float out of photographs towards him (it is always amusing to watch him gawking at a newspaper!). Once the sight transformations have taken hold then I quickly disconnect from my immediate surroundings and I watch events as though they are taking place on a giant TV screen around me. I am fascinated by the expressions on the faces of the people around me, voices sound louder, colours look more vibrant and the pads of my fingers become very sensitive and they tingle when I make contact with objects and surfaces. I have a desire to grab at things, to hold them and to study them and I desperately want to take hold of people and press them against me. And yes, I realise how crazy that sounds! I can contain these urges for a few days by using the deep breathing and concentration techniques that Luke has taught me in order to suppress the sharpening of my senses, to ground myself in my surroundings and to stem the flood of fluids that rush into my throat and cause me to choke violently, however once I suspect that I am losing control and becoming a danger to the people around me then I immediately seek out assistance from Luke.
When I am safely alone with Luke then I can relax and allow the process to continue. The next stage begins with an odd tingling in the lowest point of my bottom jaw on either side of my face, just below each ear. This tingling feeling spreads across my lower jawline, simultaneously creeping up into my ears and spreading beneath my tongue, causing me to salivate and my tongue to become engorged. The tingling moves into my lower front teeth and the entire lower jaw feels as though it is being drawn back and my nose and upper jaw are sliding forwards and outwards into an animal-like muzzle. I develop a strong sense of ‘pointed-ness’ in the centre of my face and my upper teeth start to hum and vibrate, which tickles ever so much! The odd feeling in my jaw calms after a while, but my hearing blocks (predominantly in my right ear) and noises become muted and distant.
The tickly vibration in my upper teeth is alleviated by the application of pressure and so in order to counteract this uncomfortable sensation I have an overwhelming urge to open my mouth and press my teeth into something like a teething child relieving the pressure of new teeth breaking through the gum. It is not a controlled decision to bite but rather an overwhelming need to bite. And it is usually around this time that I start to smell it - that salty-meaty odour that I can taste on the tip of my tongue as soon as it enters into my nostrils – and while my rational mind tells me that my subsequent actions are distasteful, a deep-rooted and almost intuitively primal part of me knows that what lies beneath the skin is highly desirable and I will be rewarded with instant gratification, albeit with a somewhat shameful aftertaste (I can only imagine that this same self-conscious internal struggle is endured by the smoker when succumbing to a cigarette craving or the alcoholic upon taking another mouthful of liquor).
I find the procedure of breaking the skin to be unpleasant, clumsy and embarrassing, but it can be dealt with quickly and painlessly if executed correctly (Luke usually helps me because he is very conscious of his appearance and he doesn’t like to make a mess). It is like breaking through the tough bitter peel of an orange to get at the juicy fruit inside – terribly messy and frustrating but well worth the effort! The pleasurable shock of the transition from cold skin and dry teeth to warm liquid and wet tongue is like diving headfirst into a pool of tortuous ecstasy. I realise how horrifically pretentious that sounds but I make no apologies because there is no other satisfactory way to describe it. That first moment of immediate gratification is what makes me come back for more. Each taste bud on my tongue has become extremely sensitive and Luke’s blood is the most electrifying substance that I have ever tasted. If you have cut yourself and licked the blood from the wound then you will be familiar with the bitter and coppery taste of blood; it is thin, cold and not dissimilar to sucking on an old penny. But Luke’s blood tastes divine. In fact I would go as far as to say that it burns. Have you ever had a shot of strong alcohol that is so potent that it turns to vapour upon the very second that it hits your tongue? That is how Luke tastes. His blood has complex salty and metallic qualities and there are deep textures that I have never tasted before in any food or drink that I have ever consumed. Exceptionally salty cheese or a strong brandy are mildly comparable, but if I could recreate the process with normal food and drink then there would be no need for this abhorrent ritual! Having said that, I am not repulsed by the thought that I am consuming the vital fluids of another person. It honestly feels as though the blood belongs to me and I am absorbing part of myself through Luke, but I realise that I have a close bond with Luke and I doubt that I would feel comfortable performing the same intimate act with a stranger.
I must mention at this point that the bond between Luke and I is not sexual in any way; the sense of wanting Luke is no different to the sense of wanting a drink when you are thirsty or wanting to eat when you are hungry. I would not say that my hunger for my sandwiches at lunchtime, for example, is a sexual urge. Yes, the physical embrace, the surge of aggression and the struggle for dominance that takes place has strong erotic undertones and the sexual tension is intense in the initial stages, but once the skin is broken and the driving impulse is satisfied then there is no further interaction between us. We are attracted to each other and a sexual relationship may develop in time, but at the moment our bond runs far deeper than physical attraction and maintaining a certain amount of emotional detachment is proving useful for practical purposes.
We have had several serious conversations about the consequences of our activities and Luke has presented me with a number of problematic scenarios that we might encounter in future: separation, addiction, persecution, barrenness and rejection of the physical and spiritual kind. The list is a little intimidating. The idea that we could be separated and the health-related issues concern me, but I’m not worried about the possibility of addiction because I believe that I am mature and restrained enough for addiction not to become an issue. After all, I enjoy a drop of alcohol once in a while but that doesn’t make me an alcoholic! I can understand how someone could believe that partaking regularly and in substantial amounts might increase their strength because ingestion does have a noticeable effect upon my physical body. I can feel a sharp current of electricity coursing through my body afterwards and I have already noticed some surprising side-effects, so if I was inclined towards experimentation or desperate to achieving the highest attainable level of physical perfection then this process could potentially become very addictive indeed. However not all of the after-effects of our exchanges are pleasant: I get out of breath very easily, my nails are like brittle glass (I have been wearing a lot of nail polish to strengthen them) and I am constantly drinking glass after glass of cold water. The muscular pains are by far the worst part and it feels like I’m going through puberty all over again! I have been experiencing a deep, almost menstrual, ache in my arms and legs which, in a perverse way, is somewhat comforting because it reminds me of Luke throughout the following day. I have complained to Luke that I often feel far worse after our exchanges than I do beforehand, but he assures me that the pain of abstinence is much harder to bear than the pain of indulgence and I am not inflicting any long-term damage on my body so there is no need to be concerned, particularly since the physical changes are not noticeable enough for my friends or family to pass comment.
Luke has, however, repeatedly warned me about ‘the rage’. I am occasionally consumed by ‘the rage’ during our exchanges and it is best described as an overwhelming surge of limitless power and a painfully inviting temptation to destroy everything that is within my reach. Luke tells me that it is an entirely natural response and he says that even the Gospel authors reveal that Jesus experienced this emotion when he raised Lazarus, but he has warned that I must not, under any circumstances, allow myself to fully surrender to it (from the passionate way that Luke spoke I suspect that he struggles with it more often than he will admit to, so we must monitor that in future). I have assured Luke that I am in absolute control of myself and I am not a danger to anyone but, nevertheless, he insists that I guard against any unwanted urges by carrying a handful of old pennies in my pocket. I am to hold these pennies in my hand until they are warm and smell my hand to take the urges away. It is easily done; just a scratch or rub of my nose and the symptoms are suppressed for a little while longer. So far this has proven to be a very effective method of curtailing any stirrings when I am in public and preventing them from progressing beyond my control, but I have to be careful to hide these odd behaviours from Alex. I constantly worry that he will pass comment on my strange behaviour or - God forbid - he might see the marks on my body, but Luke tells me that it is only the first ones that leave a lasting scar so we were careful to do it somewhere discreet (on the lower left side of my ribcage). Luke disguises his marks very skilfully indeed and he has taken to wearing long-sleeved shirts to hide the small scars on his chest and arms until they have completely faded away. Leonard does not question the marks whenever he catches sight of them, which leads me to suspect that he knows what is taking place.
What must he think of us?